THERE’S ALWAYS A WAY AROUND
if I only knew how!
PREVIOUS: Double Binds (Part 10)
SITE: “Talking to Toddlers: Double Binds in Parenting Young Kids”
QUOTE: “If a man achieves or suffers change in premises which are deeply embedded in his mind, he will surely find that the results of that change will ramify throughout his whole universe.” ~ Gregory Bateson
After all these post on the ‘evil’ of D. Messages & D. Binds – would you believe there are actually ways to use DM for good?
On the one hand they can cause untold suffering. On the other – the pain can motivate us to transform ourselves, if we’re willing to do the work.
Invaluable leaps in learning & personal development involve “including & transcending” (Wilber) both our negative and our positive binding patterns. Often our greatest strengths come from being doubly bound to enact them. Steve Jobs couldn’t not innovate.
PURPOSE: to help clients release painful emotions & get past their resistance to positive changes. Sometimes clients don’t want either choice of a positive bind, even tho both are to their benefit. DBs are one of the most effective indirect language device available for inducing trance, as a way to encouraging therapeutic ‘movement’.
• The POSITIVE use of DBs was instituted by Dr. Milton Erickson, as a therapeutic tool. He first learned the art of the DB from his father, who would ask, “Do you want to feed the chickens first or the hogs, and then do you want to fill the wood box or pump the water for the cows first.” The elder Erickson gave Milton a choice of which chore to do first, but the boy was not free to leave the chores undone. Erickson admitted he consented mainly because he chose the order in which he did them.
Clinical Hypno-therapist Dr. Jay Stone uses double & triple binds to subtly aid the client. EXP:
Double Bs “Will you apply your lesson of self-care before or after you let go of your resentment?” THEN:
Triple B “Will you apply your lesson of self-care daily, weekly or monthly?” If the answer is ‘daily’, then clients are asked: “Will you
apply your lessons of self-care 1 time, 2 times or 5 times a day?”
• In two-level communication, the conscious mind gets a choice, but the unconscious mind does not
• In the triple bind, the client’s conscious mind is allowed to choose how often to apply the lesson, but the unconscious mind has agreed to self-care as soon as the conscious mind made its choice of frequency.
Click on Sample Form
ACoAs: This way of using DBs is very effective with toddlers (see ‘SITE’ above) and is worth learning to use with our WIC, who is usually resistant to more direct forms of change. (BOOK: ‘Covert Persuasion’ + comment)
WIN-WIN We can learn how to create win-wins for ourselves and others, using positive / therapeutic DBs to help create a desired outcome, rather than living in anxiety. This would make both Sender & Receiver right, no matter what they do or say. Once we’ve mastered the skills to deal with DBs, we gain greater confidence. There are 5 dimensions of the Win/Win model: Character, Relationships, Agreements, Supportive Systems and Processes.
Examples from Business &/or Parenting
a. When forging good relationships is the main focus & goal, Win/Win is the desirable outcome.
b. BUT in a competitive situation OR in an unhealthy one, where making a safe connection isn’t possible, Win/Lose is a valid option. (MORE….)
• In that case, the “Purpose frame” is applicable – to give the other person what they want (actual need), but not what they asked for (request).
EXP: Eskimo needs warm feet…. (Read the rest)
Alan Watts, philosopher & theologian, noted that DBs have long been used in the East as a therapeutic tool & a path to spiritual wisdom. The Zen Master purposefully imposes them on his students through various skillful means (upaya) in the hope that they achieve enlightenment (satori).
One of their most prominent techniques, especially in the Rinzai school, is called the koan (unsolvable problems), where students are posed a Q. and instructed to pour all their mental energies into finding the answer.
EXP: A student can be asked “Show me who you really are.” OR “What was your original face before you were born?”. These are to be meditated on until the student can give an appropriate answer.
• Since there is no correct answer possible, the goal is for the student to become so frustrated in the quest that the ego relinquishes its hold, and the student gains enlightenment by seeing through the false mind of duality – the DB. According to Watts, the student will eventually realize there’s nothing to do, and nothing they cannot do, to present their True Self, thus learning the Buddhist concept of anatman (non-self) via reductio ad absurdum.
• Bateson’s book “Towards a Theory of….” tells of a Zen koan: The Master holds a stick over the pupil’s head and says fiercely:
— If you say this stick is real, I will strike you with it
— If you say this stick is not real, I will strike you with it
— If you don’t say anything, I will strike you with it ….
…. and the student submits to the conflict in order to learn. The pupil might: reach up & take the stick away from the Master, then break it, or make it into a broom stick to sweep the room, or…. This would resolve the impasse, and the relief of finding a way out would be its own reward. (3rd possible way to counter a DB, see Part 3).
• Since the ZEN master is trying to help, he’s relatively open about the contradictions presented, accepting and approving of the student who finds a solution to the dilemma.
In contrast, in a destructive DB relationship, unacceptable contradictory parts are presented covertly or in a way that makes them inaccessible, so that the victim who does finds any way out is made to be wrong or otherwise punished.
NEXT: DBs – Part 12